Office of Continuing Education

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December 6th, 2018

Continuing education continues to evolve over time, emphasizing different trends or perspectives in education and training. The courses offered tend to reflect demand, though you can also expect to see courses in creative pursuits as well as those designed for professional development. Here are some of the continuing education trends to watch as 2019 begins. Which of these trends will impact your continuing education in the coming year?

1. E-learning

E-learning, online courses and other forms of online training continue to grow in popularity because of their convenience, cost savings, and flexibility. Certain types of online courses are more effective than their more traditional counterparts, while others are less effective because they don’t offer enough feedback or repetition to participants. Nevertheless, e-learning will not get less popular any time soon, but will continue to be popular well into the future.

2. Soft skills training

Soft skills include communication, leadership, and adaptability, among many others. Most soft skills are related to people or to how employees approach their work, rather than their technical skills. Employers are finding that millennial and subsequent generations of employees need soft skills training to counter deficits caused by technological advances that have neglected them in favor of tech skills training. And “refresher” training can be good for people further along in their careers too.

3. Personalization

Different learning styles and levels of prior knowledge have made a one-size-fits-all style of continuing education impractical and ineffective for many students. Today’s continuing education courses are increasingly personalized and customized to provide the maximum benefit to students and give them the skills and tools they need most.

Continuing education

AI is taking hold in many workplaces and is also being used in continuing education.

4. Continuing education as a recruiting tool

Another trend in continuing education is to use courses and/or training to attract interested students, which can then be recruited to your organization when appropriate. In a labor market that has become much tighter in recent years as unemployment rates have dropped, companies need all the help they can get to fill positions, especially those requiring specific skills.

5. Artificial intelligence

Today’s artificial intelligence involves machine learning, where algorithms allow machines to make adjustments in their functioning to be more effective. Not only do employees need to be trained on how to use AI tools in their work, but AI will also be used more in the actual training, as chatbots are being incorporated into many courses to make them more customized.

6. ROI

A focus on a course’s return on investment, or ROI, is a must for companies with limited training budgets and should be part of the evaluation process when courses are taken. ROI is often financial, but can also be seen in other ways like increased productivity or eligibility for promotion to a higher position. Lower employee turnover due to more job satisfaction is another frequent “side effect” of continuing education opportunities.

CCSU offers many continuing education courses, including many that incorporate cutting edge trends like those listed here.  View open courses to see which of our offerings may dovetail with your educational needs.